What is Craniosacral therapy? The History and Explanation
Life expresses itself as constant motion. Not just the beating of the heart and the respiratory movement of the lungs or the peristaltic function of the digestive organs . All of the tissues in the body have an inherent motion. This motion is a subtle rhythm that can be palpated by sensitive hands.
The presence of this subtle rhythm in the body was described by osteopath Dr. William Sutherland, over a hundred years ago. While he was examining the form and intricate detail of one of the cranial bones when suddenly he marveled “Beveled like the gills of a fish indicating a primary respiratory mechanism”. He discovered that the cranial sutures did not fuse completely at adulthood, rather they were in fact designed for subtle but detectable movement.
Craniosacral therapy, as popularized and taught worldwide, was developed by osteopathic physician, John Upledger. He was assisting at a neck surgery to remove a growth that was severely limiting that patient’s functioning. His task was to retract the meningeal membrane so that the surgeon could have access to the growth. Much to his surprise he could not hold it still. While the surgeon kept berating him for his seeming incompetency, Dr. Upledger was getting more and more frustrated. Somehow, the surgery was successful anyway, but Dr. Upledger could not rest until he could find an explanation for this unusual event. Despite being trained in the osteopathic tradition, he was unaware of Dr. Sutherland’s work which would become the foundation of craniosacral therapy. He began a series of extensive scientific studies to explore the dynamics and underlying physiology of the craniosacral system.
There are 22 bones in the cranium. Many of them are intimately connected to the meningeal membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. These membranes enclose the cerebrospinal fluid that is produced within the brain. This fluid pressure rises and falls at a rate of about ten times per minute. This is called the craniosacral rhythm.
The fluctuation in cerebrospinal fluid pressure is why there needs to be some degree of movement between the cranial bones. By offering a level of ‘give’ the bony structure of the skull does not compromise the proper functioning and development of the brain and CNS. Even though the internal pressure is constantly fluctuating.
Dr. Upledger’s Mystery Solved and what he learned
This is the very movement that prevented Dr. Upledger from holding on to that membrane. Dr. Upledger’s studies revealed to him the specific relationship of each cranial bone to the underlying meningeal membranes. It revealed to him the dynamic interrelationship of each cranial bone to its neighbors and revealed how this motion was transmitted through the dural tube (the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) all the way to the sacrum.
He also discovered that even the slightest restriction in the dural tube could affect the movement of the cranial bones and that the craniosacral rhythm could be palpated all throughout the body; even in places that had no direct connection to the craniosacral system.
Dr. Upledger’s clinical practice and early teachings focused on locating and freeing restrictions in the meningeal membranes. He developed unique techniques using the cranial bones as handles to palpate and release restrictions in the cranial membranes and all the way through the dural tube. He had tremendous success treating traumatic brain injuries and many neuromuscular and developmental disorders. Although his primary training and orientation was as a very scientific minded physician, using the subtle palpation skills needed to do this work, took him to some of the farthest frontiers of mind-body medicine and energy healing. He discovered that releasing tensions in the meningeal membranes often released old traumas and memories.
He found that all of the tissues in the body seemed to have “cellular memory” and that as he facilitated an unwinding of these tissues ,deep emotional issues could also be released. He even began to have dialogues with what he would call the patient’s “inner physician”, often leading the patient to discover the source of their problem in the hidden, inner meaning of their disease.
The Craniosacral Practioner
A qualified practitioner of craniosacral therapy (which now includes many without formal osteopathic training) uses his palpatory skills to tune into the clients craniosacral rhythm. This allows him to evaluate the client’s general health and vitality and locate any specific restrictions and imbalances in the craniosacral system. Gentle and non-intrusive techniques are used to release these restrictions, many of them using the hydraulic power of the craniosacral rhythm itself. For most people this is a deeply relaxing experience.
Craniosacral therapy is indispensable for treating the following:
- Any trauma affecting the head or spine
- TMJ syndrome
- Birth trauma
It is invaluable in the treatment of:
- All forms of headache
- All disorders affecting the central nervous system
- Pediatric issues, including colic, ear infections, developmental and learning difficulties
It’s positive effects on the immune and nervous system are extremely beneficial in treating:
- Stress induced disorders
- Autoimmune dysfunction
- And for maintaining overall health and balance
The above information is original information, written and edit approved by Yaakov Wieder. Yaakov Wieder is a foremost expert in Craniosacral Therapy. He has helped heal hundreds of individuals. He currently operates from his clinic in Ramat Eshkol, Jerusalem. You can book an appointment or find out more information here. Call any time and leave your information or inquiry here. Call to schedule: 02-540-1324
Yaakov Wieder Lic Ac. began his study of CST in 1986. He took his intermediate and advanced training directly under the tutelage of Dr. Upledger, who when introducing Yaakov to speak at the annual conference called him “… a bodyworker extraordinaire.” He then went on to study other complimentary osteopathic approaches, including Visceral Manipulation and Zero Balancing (also with their originators). He was certified as a teaching assistant for the Upledger Institute and has taught several classes for the religious community in Jerusalem.